Wednesday, March 25, 2009


(FOUND PHOTO, courtesy Misty Harper, great collector of objects and fictions. . .)

"Window World" is a fantastic logo I once saw on the side of a truck. Plenty banal, it advertised a window company, eager to install professional sturdy windows in homes and businesses world wide. . .

but, I thought the phrase was brilliant. . .it fits a larger understanding of our shared reality which is becoming quite imprisoned inside windows. we live our lives inside. . .but gaze outward through computer screens, windshields, bay windows, glass houses, corporate buildings, the endless lenses of cameras, etc. . .and I suppose a problem with that sort of 2-dimensional exterior, is that it can be so easily manipulated. we start to believe the screen version. . .or the image projected inside the window, instead of going out there to see (and touch) for ourselves. we become fearful and disconnected with the actual outside, and yet in love with it from an unconsummated distance. . .fiction is more dramatic and exciting than hard-knocks reality, anyway. who would want to live outside, unprotected. . . staring inward with the rest of the derelicts on the other side of the glass?

In an interview about his new book called The Disappearance of the Outside , Andrei Codrescu spoke to the same idea . . .that we now live in the interior. surprisingly, Codrescu traces our migration to the interior to the 1970s. but, I thought this migration was directly related to the introduction of the internet. curiously, when you look at the visual fiction of the 70s, the wildness and nature are very present (e.g . . .). that's interesting.

(more later. . . . . . . . .)

Saturday, March 14, 2009


I believe that time (a rather flexible material) is moving faster than ever before. . .due to many reasons including the advancement of communications technologies, we move through shared time together at a speed that is now faster than logic.

this is the reason I think the industrial age is entering a new re-spiritualized phase. to flow with the pace of the global mainstream, one must stay light and mobile. that's in attitude and in material weight. to take the time to consider things, to follow the rigors of logic, is very expensive in time. time spent this way must be strategic in our new superspeedy reality. those who do well, can change on a dime, readjust to new situations rapidly, make wise decisions on the spot. . .and, this style of living, I believe, is done best with a keen sense of intuition. increasingly people must feel their way through--no time to weigh the choices carefully.

with everyone rushing about, socializing and responding instantly at all times, travelling at breakneck speeds, able to change directions like psychotic atoms in cyberspace, constantly updating how things are done, keeping track of what everyone else is doing through our new society of cameras and channels of communicaitons. . .it's no wonder there are a proliferation of accidentz.

ironically, as we achieve unprecedented control over the world through technology, we also spin easily out of control and CRASH alot.

this is not a bad thing, aside from the pains and shocks of collisions. an accident is a moment when things stop or slow down after an explosive shock. it is a most raw, human and honest moment. . .it sobers things up. . .it makes a mark in time (a scar, perhaps). it reminds us of our mortality . . .of the power of things beyond our control (like nature) . . .and also of our own carelessness.

accidentz are not new. they have always been a sexy spectacle of the industrial revolution. look at the picture above: a famous crash in victorville, CA 1968, "topless mother of eight" is decapitated. this is my copy of the police photograph. I have altered it to remove the accident from the landscape. . .an act of geographic healing.

Friday, March 6, 2009


are you someone who leaves drawers open?

(cabinets, books, etc.)

I am.

what does that say about a person? . . .I like to leave a room with all the drawers ajar. someone might think I'm mad.

the kitchen. . .the studio. I want to leave a place and think. . .there's something left here for me to go back to. . .I don't want to close up anything from my sight which I haven't fully mined through. . . keeping options open, made literal.

what am I looking for and have not found? not sure. . .
but sometimes I have a heart attack, when I open a good drawer.

how good is my magic today?


Monday, March 2, 2009


provincial: a person of local or restricted interests or outlook b: a person lacking urban polish or refinement

at a kkprojects opening event during new orleans' first biennial I had an intense conversation with an art professional who lives between berlin and new york city. while he enjoyed several $7 cocktails composed of aged vinnegar, champagne and some other herbal specialties, he espoused how atlanta will never have an art scene because of it's provincialism.

at first, I listened and agreed. atlanta (where I live) is a very conservative, small town for an urban population of nearly 5 million. it's a cultural suburb (with real strip malls, parking lots and sprawl), whose main concern is corporate business. however, our social elite wish to be ranked with other national fine art clubs and thus support conventional "arts." there's a small wild music scene (centered around celebrity low-browsers deerhunter & the blacklips). but, as far as art goes, the ATL receives second-hand artistic franchises, authority figures and hits from other places with submissive excitement. the high is our greatest museum, architecturally. it's a wonderful white whale of a building designed by richard meier and filled with fluffy populace programming for women with strollers, busloads of students and the genteel, looking for light afternoon entertainment. they are herded in and their ears are stuffed with the voices of electronic guides. I have witnessed it all too many times: the interior galleries of the main shows, filled with lines of single filed visitors, shuffling silently clockwise along the walls.

even the most highly regarded commercial art galleries here (Saltworks, Get This!, Whitespace, Marcia Wood, Solomon Projects), must go elsewhere to receive creditation, get inspired and make money. if you want to go to core artistic sources of our times, see experiments, deviations from norms and new daring developments, you'll need to hop on a plane or lurk online. and if you practice art here, you'll need to comply gracefully with these values and your place in the world as a lesser practitioner. . .or develop an inflated, uninformed sense of self worth, rejecting the locals' fear and judgement at anything that doesn't imitate these accepted mainstream norms. a strange kind of provincialism, indeed. this is a provencialism that focuses not on local indigenous culture, but instead limits itself to a gentler version of other urban cultural standards.

so is the fate of being in a submissive cultural city in a time of globalization.

but, then I began to disagree with that art professional quite a lot . not only did he condescend to atlanta, but he also condescended to new orleans "locals," as well. I could agree about atlanta, but new orleans?. . .it has one of the most original independent cultures in this country. like any outsider art culture, there might be some clueless, distracted, lazy or just plain disappointing art practitioners there. . . but I'd dare say, that as a contemporary context for artistic practice, new orleans is one of the few places right now that still has the spirit to sustain a dynamic art movement like what happened in crusty, edgy, abandoned soho of the 50s. it became apparent to me that this art professional knew it. he was hunting for the next untapped art place to colonize and domesticate.

the thing is. . .unlike ATL, new orleans cannot be tamed. that is what makes this southern, provincial development, a most precious locale. my friend john otte (artist & lover of new orleans) says, the swamp will always win. the tropicalistas put it another way. . .they saw their jungle culture accept european modernism, a global thirst in the 60s. their philosophical response was to become cannibals. the jungle and its people would eat everything (all in-coming new cultures) and survive as a unique hybrid and not an obedient colony culture. so. . .with great hope, I am watching new orleans and do intend to participate in it at this fertile time.

so there is a conundrum to the values of being local. in environmental terms it's a positive. grow your own vegetables, walk and bike around your daily routine, understand your local politics, beliefs, practices, history, architecture, weather patterns, etc. and when you focus on this, you start to understand the unique character of your place and how to thrive in it, how to build on it. we cannot forget the finite physical place that a single human being can touch for real. but this approach of localism is at odds with the idea and ambition of globalization. there's the term glocal. which is the hybrid of the two values. . .but there are still very strong pejoratives associated with being a "local."

it's essential at this time to look out there at the globe, try to be aware of powerful cultural monocultures via technological means, try to understand your relationship with it. this does not mean everyone must strictly align with dominant global culture without resistance, without pockets of strong localisms. . . perhaps in time we will resusitate that bad word "provincialism" and twist it into naughty gold.

there's a practical, economical aspect to localism / provincialism. to travel and be culturally global, takes a lot of resources (money, time & control). those who are economically challenged, cannot really be globally active, for they must stay in one place to work and take care of the mundanities. but such local people pretend non-the-less to be part of the global community by following the trends promoted to them via various media channels. will skepticism and resistence to this media-maintained monoculture always connote naivete, ignorance, ludditity. . .poverty?